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Unless you are allergic to previews magazine or your local comic store, you’ve probably heard about the newest Image book by Jonathan Hickman. Following the acclaimed Manhattan Projects comes another title set in an alternate history following the Civil War. The Civil War rages on after the Union finds itself fighting a war on two fronts. Native American involvement has complicated things for the Union and it isn’t until a comet strikes America (1908) that the fighting is “resolved” and the Seven Nations of America is formed.
The story picks up in 2064 marking the first year of the apocalypse. The landscape is a futuristic wild west. While technology has advanced, the “lifestyle” and “atmosphere” of western life has remained. Oh, and the Four Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse have arrived on Earth but with a slight twist to any narrative involving the Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse that one might expect. Death has abandoned his Horsemen/women much to their ire. He has paid for his choice though the first issue doesn’t delve into the how and why deeply. What the reader does know is that Death is out for vengeance and it begins now.
There are a few things that attracted me to this book. The first being the beautiful covers that accompany Hickman’s work. I love the minimalist design that offers to keep the story inside the pages of the book. Hickman books tend to pop off the wall amongst a sea of action packed covers attempting to use the entire space offered by a 7×10 sheet of paper with some including advertisements that have nothing to do with the comic you are looking at. Hickman books are beautiful and, at cover price, you can’t find a cheaper piece of art. Second, I love a science fiction western. Star Wars, Cowboys and Aliens, Trigun, or Doctor Who; the narrative hooks me every time. Sprinkle in a dash of revenge in a dystopian future and I’m a regular Phillip J Fry.
The big question being; is this book for you? The story paces on the slower side so don’t expect every issue to be action packed like you would find in a mini-series. The story feels a little disjointed but that may come from the setup jumping through different time periods frequently in order to set the scene. However, if we share a similar weakness for science fiction westerns, dystopian futures, revenge stories, the Four Horsemen/women of the Apocalypse, or the art; don’t hesitate to pick up a copy. I have a feeling you won’t be given another chance until the second printing if you hesitate now.